THERE is no gainsaying the fact that Federal Government through its National Universities Commission, NUC, is doing its best by way of checks and balances, effective supervision and quality control of all universities in Nigeria particularly the private ones.
However, there is need for federal government to ensure adequate support for education in private universities. It must be mentioned here that several of the private universities in Nigeria are not established for profit-making but to give students sound moral education which will bring about the fear of God and good society.
A typical example is that of Crescent University, Abeokuta, with the vision and mission of sound education, good moral upbringing and the service to God, Almighty. We are also to ensure that the university has a national outlook. Hence, there is no state that is not represented in the university in terms of students. There are those with scholarship awards from Northern and Southern Nigeria.
It is the belief of the university that if these students are given the opportunity to study together, relating on the same campus for three or four years, they will not grow up to hate one another in politics in future. So, admission of students into Crescent University is done without discrimination against any student by way of ethnicity, religion or sex.
Female emancipation towards a better, mature life is now emanating from several states of the North, particularly Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara from where students are sent for scholarship to the university.
To this end, Federal Government must ensure that private universities in Nigeria enjoy benefits of Tertiary Education Trust Funds, TETFUNDs, since this will further help in development of education in the sector. Tremendous development of education is indeed sine qua non to development of any nation in the world.
Recently, Nigeria with her population of over 150 million and substantial resources in both oil and mineral wealth is still considered, in terms of good governance to be in the 13th position out of 16 nations in West Africa.
Also in education, University of Ilorin that was considered the best in Nigeria occupied 33rd position in webometric ranking in Africa and 555th position in the world.
Jurisprudentially, it is axiomatic that to every right, there must be a corresponding duty. The National Universities Commission, while effectively supervising the private universities, must also critically look for means of governing moral and financial support to them. The fillip may in provision of facilities, projects and endowments. That would boost the development of Nigeria as a nation and put her in the right position among the nations of the world. There is no doubt that education will give us an enviable position globally. But it must be treated holistically and now.
•Prince Ajibola is the founder of Crescent University, Abeokuta
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